Book Review: The Refuge by Regan Walker

December 4, 2016 historical, Regan Walker, romance 4

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about the book

For anyone whose faith has ever faltered…

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to seek refuge in Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who have come to serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon!

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The king has promised her to one of his favored warriors, but she has given her heart to a lowly scribe.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

Note: This is the inspirational version of Rebel Warrior, also published in 2016.

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GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Regan Walker Publishing
RELEASE DATE: November 22nd, 2016
PAGES: 286

“There is no soul so damaged, no heart so broken, it cannot be healed by God.”

In The Refuge, Regan Walker enters the inspirational historical fiction genre with a sweeping tale of adventure, faith, and of course romance.

Rich with historical detail, The Refuge focuses on the court of Malcolm and Margaret in 11th century Scotland. I like reading about characters who actually existed (i.e., Kristy Cambron’s The Ringmaster’s Wife or Jody Hedlund’s Newton and Polly or Heather Gilbert‘s Viking series) because a) it makes my inner history geek giddy and b) it makes me want to do my own research to learn more. The history though, like in the other titles I mentioned, is woven seamlessly into and a part of the story – instead of feeling like a nonfiction book masquerading as fiction.

Catrìona is a fantastic heroine, though perhaps a bit of a dichotomy? On one hand, she is strong and spirited, not afraid to break free of the mold that society expects for her. On the other hand, she can be unexpectedly naive and uncertain. Steinar, our hero, is swoony and honorable and the kind of guy you want on your side… in life, in love, in war, or in work.

While the main romance revolves around fictional characters Steinar and Catrìona, we are also treated to glimpses into Malcolm and Margaret’s own love story as well as two other secondary couples. These romances are sweet and tender and, while never inappropriate, they are also somewhat sensual. (I found the character of Margaret to be the most fascinating of all the book’s characters – perhaps because she did exist, perhaps because her faith was so much a part of her life.)

Bottom Line: Be prepared to snuggle in with this novel as Steinar and Catrìona introduce you to medieval Scotland, its king and queen, and the skirmishes with the Norman invaders and other dastardly foes that wreak havoc. While some parts of the book were slow for me, the compelling characters and the vivid setting kept my attention engaged from beginning to end. 

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Enjoyed it!

KissingBook Level: 3+ / WILL forget to breathe on more than one occasion 😀

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about the author


Regan Walker is an award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. A lawyer turned full time writer, she has six times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and nominated four times for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the medieval category). Her novels have been finalists in numerous contests. Regan writes historically authentic novels where her readers experience adventure and love.

Regan loves to hear from readers, and you may contact  her via her website:

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4 Responses to “Book Review: The Refuge by Regan Walker”

  1. Regan Walker

    Thanks so much, Carrie, for reviewing The Refuge. I am thrilled you liked my venture into medieval Scotland. I must admit, even as I was writing it, I teared up at several places. The story spoke to me and I hope it does my readers, too.

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